As Americans enter the first week full of major lifestyle changes, Cheddar decided to compile a list of ways we all can help others in need.
Businesses are hurting, and so are non-profit organizations that rely on donations to sustain efforts in the community. If you have some disposable income, here are some organizations that take donations and are helping to feed children and keep people safe, and If you had intentions to donate this year, prepay charitable contributions today.
Though this list is in no way comprehensive, it will help find a local organization to support during this time:
Feeding America is feeding families and children around the nation through a nationwide network of food banks. Donating $1 can provide at least 10 meals to children and families. Or, check your local food banks to donate, but here are some links to a few big cities: Capital Area Food Bank, Los Angeles Food Bank, and New York food pantries.
No Kid Hungry is feeding children losing out on healthy meals with school closures. A donation of $50 provides up to 500 meals. No Kid Hungry is also partnered with Save the Children to provide school and community programs, books, games and educational material for kids around the country.
Blessings in a Backpack is serving food to children around the nation, focusing on impacted schools and food availability in the region.
National Domestic Workers Alliance is supporting in-home care workers, nannies, and house cleaners at risk during the coronavirus crisis.
UNICEF is sending supplies to vulnerable children around the world.
Global Giving is asking for donations to help stop the spread of the virus and support communities with resources to aid in access health care, food and water.
Meals on Wheels has a special COVID-19 response fund, to keep seniors, at higher risk of complications, safe.
CDC Foundation, the public health nonprofit created by Congress in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mobilizes philanthropic and private-sector resources to support the CDC’s work. The Foundation said the money will go to U.S. efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the disease, deploy emergency staffing at the state and local levels, deliver home essentials, and more.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is raising money to support preparedness, containment, response, and recovery for affected communities and first responders.
Concerns about overburdening the health care system extend to a blood shortage. American Red Cross Senior Vice President Paul Sullivan said the organization has seen lower donor turnout and mass blood drive cancellations, already leading to 86,000 fewer donations nationwide, a number he said is “rapidly climbing,” raising fears.
“Our inventories are already low when we project out the impact of the cancellations or people canceling. It puts us in a very difficult position where we wouldn’t be able to supply our hospitals,” he told Cheddar.
The Red Cross has enacted new policies like taking temperatures, changing gloves and sanitation measures, and limiting contact to ensure safety. Sullivan said it is particularly important for young people to turn up, as people over 65, now encouraged to self-isolate, are normally responsible for donating more than 30 percent of platelet products.
“We don’t want to put the medical community in a situation where they have to pick who gets blood and who doesn’t,” Sullivan said it’s important to practice social distancing and keep everyone safe by staying indoors as much as possible, but he still donates. He called it a tradeoff “between knowing someone who gets a transfusion absolutely needs it to sustain their life versus me having a small increased risk of getting COVIC-19.”
“I am a blood donor. I will be eligible soon to donate and I will go out and donate blood again.”
Support Local Businesses:
Spreadsheets are circulating on social media sites with local businesses in need of support and ways to donate to those that take remote orders or offer remote purchasing of gift cards. Chantal, a 30-year-old San Francisco resident under a ‘shelter in place’ order, originated a support sheet a few days ago. Her mother has a small business, and Chantal said she “felt really stressed out knowing how” such businesses operate with thin margins and are likely suffering. She's also seen three other Bay Area spreadsheets, one in Ontario, Canada, and another in Seattle, Washington.
In Washington, DC, a virtual tip jar has more than 1,000 entries. Service workers, who often rely on tips, can add themselves to the list with their PayPal or Venmo accounts to add to the spreadsheet so people can send money.
Call On an Elderly Person:
Local community centers and religious institutions are organizing phone banks to check in on older people at risk of both contracting COVID-19 and social isolation. Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles has organized a phone bank to keep elderly community members connected.
If you can’t call someone, check on the elderly or disabled people in your building or neighborhood. Leave a note or talk through the door to keep people from experiencing loneliness during an uncertain time.
Drop Off Food — Safely:
Invisible Hands started up on Sunday and has over 1,000 volunteers coordinating orders and deliveries for individuals who may not be able to leave their homes. One of the group’s creators, Mimi, said it's working on a "Door-Dash" model due to what she called high volumes on both sides. They connect low-risk people willing to run errands and deliver groceries with at-risk populations trying to stay at home. If you want to help, use the contact form to sign up to deliver in NYC or to start a chapter in your town or city. Invisible Hands said it will be up and running in Boston and San Francisco as well.
Listen to Others:
Volunteer to be a part of organizations like Crisis Text Line or HearMe. Both allow people in need to message certified listeners or Crisis Counselors. Listeners need to go through a volunteer training process